lever

noun
le·​ver | \ ˈle-vər, ˈlē- \

Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a bar used for prying or dislodging something
b : an inducing or compelling force : tool use food as a political leverTime
2a : a rigid piece that transmits and modifies force or motion when forces are applied at two points and it turns about a third specifically : a rigid bar used to exert a pressure or sustain a weight at one point of its length by the application of a force at a second and turning at a third on a fulcrum
b : a projecting piece by which a mechanism (see mechanism sense 1) is operated or adjusted

lever

verb
levered; levering\ ˈle-​və-​riŋ , ˈlē-​ ; ˈlev-​riŋ, ˈlēv-​ \

Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pry, raise, or move with or as if with a lever
2 : to operate (a device) in the manner of a lever

Illustration of lever

Illustration of lever

Noun

lever 2a

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for lever

Synonyms: Verb

jimmy, prize, pry

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Examples of lever in a Sentence

Noun

They used their money as a lever to gain political power.

Verb

He levered the rock out of the hole. the workers used crowbars to lever the heavy stone block into its new position
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The pilot, within arm’s reach, is pulling levers and flicking switches placidly despite the occasional quick dip that brings my stomach into my throat. Virginia Van Zanten, Vogue, "Why Botswana Should Top Your Travel List in 2019," 27 Dec. 2018 There’s also a growing taste for industrial design, with metal cabinetry and stoves with metal strapping and levers. Stacey Altherr, WSJ, "Inside the Kitchens of America’s Most-Expensive Homes," 19 Nov. 2018 Instead, a series of switches and levers must be pulled in a particular sequence to unlock the controls. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Stolen Horizon Air plane ‘a serious breach,’ raises questions about airport security," 14 Aug. 2018 Then, in the 1970s, the Carter administration pushed the lever of spaceflight power a step further in NASA’s favor. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "On NASA’s birthday, a reminder that we can thank Nixon for the agency," 1 Oct. 2018 How rare is Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to seek reelection at a time when his political party controlled all of the levers of power in Washington? James Pindell, BostonGlobe.com, "House speakers almost never quit when their party runs Washington. Paul Ryan just did it," 11 Apr. 2018 Together, the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense are committed to using every lever of power to support the men and women of law enforcement defending our nation's sovereignty and protecting the American people. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Arizona, Texas announce plans to send National Guard members to border," 2 Oct. 2018 At 2, Mark’s brother, Todd, brought over a toy on which a child can push a lever with his feet to send a Wiffle ball into the air to be hit by a plastic bat. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Luke Kennard was groomed to be NBA player — by his dad," 17 June 2018 The private sector has levers to influence community development to be more disaster resilient. Jeff Schlegelmilch, Fortune, "The 2018 Hurricane Season Is Here. We Can’t Just Rely on the Federal Government to Help Us Prepare," 30 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Were it to lever up to two times Ebitda, Altria could spend another $6 billion on top of its Cronos investment without upsetting investors. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Marijuana Won’t Keep Marlboro Man Buzzing," 7 Dec. 2018 All would reduce the incentive and ability to lever up the housing stock. Emily Stewart, Vox, "How close are we to another financial crisis? 8 experts weigh in.," 18 Sep. 2018 No matter which levers Mr. Lampert pulled, Sears racked up hefty losses. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Sears Reshaped America, From Kenmore to Allstate," 15 Oct. 2018 The hat was then turned 90 degrees and levered onto the statue’s head and the ramp was removed, forming wings on either side of the moai that still exist. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Clever Way the Easter Island Statues Got Hats," 13 June 2018 That means the hats must have been levered upward and then tilted down onto the head of the statue. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "How does a preindustrial society put a 13-ton hat on a statue?," 5 June 2018 If the old washer is hard to remove, try levering it off with a screwdriver. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How to Fix a Clogged Sink and Leaky Faucet," 11 Feb. 2015 Banks are ramping up a business that was popular before the financial crisis—offering investors ways to lever up sometimes illiquid and complex investments to amplify their returns. Christopher Whittall, WSJ, "Banks to Funds: Have Some Leverage With That Deal," 17 Dec. 2017 For example, EnerVest Ltd, a private-equity firm that levered portfolios of energy assets with debt is in danger of seeing its equity investments wiped out in at least one fund. Soma Biswas, WSJ, "Troubled Sheridan Production Energy Fund in Rescue Talks," 4 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lever

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lever

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French levier, lever, from lever to raise, from Latin levare, from levis light in weight — more at light

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Statistics for lever

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lever

The first known use of lever was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lever

lever

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong bar that is used to lift and move something heavy

: a bar or rod that is used to operate or adjust something on a machine, vehicle, device, etc.

: something used to achieve a desired result

lever

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lift or move (something) with a lever

lever

noun
le·​ver | \ ˈle-vər, ˈlē-\

Kids Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bar used to pry or move something
2 : a stiff bar for lifting a weight at one point of its length by pressing or pulling at a second point while the bar turns on a support
3 : a bar or rod used to run or adjust something a gearshift lever

lever

verb
levered; levering

Kids Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to raise or move with a bar

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More from Merriam-Webster on lever

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lever

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lever

Spanish Central: Translation of lever

Nglish: Translation of lever for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lever for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lever

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